In Unfreedom, Hardesty seeks to move beyond the familiar dichotomies of slavery and freedom by examining slavery as part of a “continuum of unfreedom” in the early modern Atlantic world, grounding his analysis in the social and cultural history of colonial Boston. “In this hierarchical, inherently unfree society,” Hardesty observes, “slavery must be put in the context of a larger Atlantic world characterized by a culture of dependence” (2). Mid-eighteenth-century Boston, a bustling provincial seaport, was a world of nested hierarchies headed by an unseen God, a distant king, and an array of local elites. It was also a world of household governance in which husbands ruled over wives; parents ruled over children; and “masters” ruled over apprentices, bound servants, and slaves. At the center of Hardesty’s analysis is a specific conception of freedom, independence, and rights. Eighteenth-century Bostonians, he argues, did not believe in “universal” human rights; rather,...
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August 01 2017
Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston
Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston. By
New York University Press,
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Online Issn: 1530-9169
Print Issn: 0022-1953
© 2017 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2017) 48 (2): 273–275.
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John Sweet; Unfreedom: Slavery and Dependence in Eighteenth-Century Boston. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2017; 48 (2): 273–275. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/JINH_r_01147
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